William Watson

1858-1935 / England

The Men Who Man Our Batteries

The men who man our batteries,
The men who serve our guns,
They need not honeyed flatteries,
For they are Britain's sons!
They go, when Duty speeds them,
Wherever bullets fly;
Wherever England needs them,
When Duty bids, they die.

The men who man our strongholds,
Or march to yonder field
Where Valour against Wrong holds
A realm that scorns to yield,
From Chiltern Hills or Grampians
May pour their living tide,
But all are England's champions
And all are England's pride.

And, lo! how the abhorrence
Of sceptred crime can join
The Thames and the St. Lawrence,
The Liffey and the Boyne.
For England need but ask aid
Where'er her branches grow,
And like a leaping cascade
It thunders on the foe.
Our cheery sailors, lapt in
The maiden sea's light sleep,
From commodore and captain
To all who man the deep,
They hear around their bed nought
But echoes of their fame,
And well they man the Dreadnought
Who dread not aught but shame.
And whether calmly harboured,
Or when the rocking State
Lurches to port and starboard,
They sail the seas of Fate;
With everlasting laughter
They luff to wind and rain,
Aforetime and hereafter
The men who man the main.
The men who man Great Britain,
And fight for royal George,
On battle's anvil smitten
Leap mightier from the forge:
Like oaks in Orkney's rough spring
They flourish torn and blown,
For all are Honour's offspring
And all are England's own.

The men who man this nation,
And sow her fame abroad,
They ask not acclamation,
They need not England's laud;
And when too late it finds them,
And falls on lifeless ears,
Where yon red tempest blinds them
They need but England's tears.
Yet, while the storm grows vaster
Around them and above,
In triumph or disaster
They shall not lack our love --
They who to Glory's fanning
This streamer have unfurled,
The men whose joy is manning,
The men who man the world!
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